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Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Review and Giveaway

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Review and Giveaway, found on PunkDomestics.com

First of all, can I just give a big high five to Cathy Barrow for her IACP award for Best Cookbook: Single Subject? Not that I'm surprised; I raved about the book last year

But there's one thing that bugs me. That category: Single subject. An integrative approach to preserving as part of a holistic way of sustaining oneself is not a single subject. It is a rich tapestry. 

But it makes me happy that we are seeing more of this kind of book. Rather than true single-subject books, that are narrowly focused on one technique, we're seeing ways of applying techniques to create a whole lifestyle. Latest on the shelf is Aimée Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites with her new release, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

Aimée is a longtime contributor to this site, and we met at BlogHer Food 2011, where she even rocked one of my temporary tattoos on her well-turned ankle. 

In the book, as with her site, Aimée strives to go beyond basic recipes. She presents a whole picture: She and her husband Danny raising three young children in the most sustainable and mindful way possible. This involves more than simply planting a garden, eating seasonally and preserving the bounty. It involves bringing the children into the process.

This is one of the areas the book stands out. More than a cookbook, it's a lifebook. How do you get kids involved in cooking? How do you answer their ethical questions about eating meat? How do you help them to be more self-sufficient? Aimée provides thoughtful approaches. 

There is plenty of preserving, of course; to wit: her recipe for strawberry-honey jam with orange zest. It's a mainstay of their lifestyle, and a large part of sustainable living in chilly Québec. But the book is so much more. 

The Québec-ness of the book is evident, and some bits will be less relevant to some than others. Case in point, her coverate of a day in the sugarbush, tapping maples and making their own maple syrup, bears little applicability on those of us who live in temperate places like California, but it's none the less romantic and sweet. 

The net result is rich and homey, without being twee. It's the nicest parts of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Martha Stewart melded into a cozy package. And who knows? Maybe we'll see this take home the IACP prize next year. 

You want it, don't you? Of course you do. So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:

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DIY Maple Syrup: We'd Tap That

When the nights are still cold but days begin to warm, sap rises in the maple trees, and it's time to tap into this sweet resource. Even if you live in a fairly urban setting, you may be able to tap your own and boil it off for some DIY syrup. Your pancakes will thank you.

Maple Tapping
Maple Tapping
Drill a hole in the maple trunk, hammer in a tap, hang a bucket, and wait. Each day you'll collect a bucket of maple sap. (Image via Homegrown.org)
Sugaring Off
Sugaring Off
The sap is drinkable (and delicious!) on its own, but if you want to turn it into syrup you'll need to boil it off. It takes a lot -- about 40 parts sap will become 1 part syrup. (Image via Putting Up With the Turnbulls)
DIY Maple Evaporator
You can do the boiling in your own kitchen, but odds are you don't have enough space, and the amount of steam it kicks off can peel wallpaper. Make your own evaporator outside and boil off in big batches. Here's how. (Image via From Scratch Club)

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Nothing but Nettles

One of the earliest foraged foods of spring, stinging nettles are cropping up in forests and alongside streams all over. These prickly plants require a little special handling (they're called stinging nettles for a reason, after all), but once their formic acid-laden hairs have been tamed, nettles are quite delicious, and remarkably nutritious, making them one of the best foraged foods around.

Foraging Nettles
Foraging Nettles
Know how and where to find and identify wild nettles, and how to process them once you harvest them -- and don't forget the gloves! (Image via Make and Rake)

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Tend Your Garden

Even if you're still buried in snow, it's a good time to start planning ahead on your garden so you can hit the ground running, er, digging when the spring thaw comes. 

Garden Planning
Garden Planning
You know what they say: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before you do anything in the garden, make a plan, map it out and think about what you want to grow for the year. (Image via Seattle Seedling)
Seed Selecting
Seed Selecting
This is the fun part! But first, take stock of what you've got, including maybe some seeds you saved from last year, and shop or trade for the rest. (Image via Sweet Domesticity)

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Orchard Road Canning Jars: Review and Giveaway

Orchard Road Canning Jars: Review and Giveaway, found on PunkDomestics.com

If you're like me, and I know I am, you occasionally get a little, well, bored with the same old jars. Ball jars can be a bit twee and over decorated, though they certainly are ubiquitous and convenient. I love the look of Weck jars, but don't find them terribly practical for actual canning. 

There's a new jar in town: Orchard Road. These sleek, smooth-sided jars are interchangeable with your workday Balls, but with a slightly more modern profile. Read my full review over on About.com to learn their pros and cons. (Spoiler alert: Mostly pros.)

The good folks at Fillmore Container have graciously provided me a bunch of these jars to play with, but they're not stopping there. You, yes you, can win some of these jars and lids for your very own, as well as an additional 50 smackers to spend on whatever your heart desires at Fillmore Container. And they have a lot of cool stuff.

You want it, don't you? Of course you do. So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:

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Cabbage from Kraut to Kimchi and Beyond

Cabbage is your friend! Whether you're working with the Western globes in green or red, or crisp heads of napa cabbage, a little salt, time and patience can turn it into a traditional condiment with a global footprint. From tangy sauerkraut to spicy kimchi and beyond, here's a few ways to make the most of this ubiqutous veg.

Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut
Whether you start with green or red cabbage, you can whip up a batch of tangy kraut using just cabbage, salt and a mason jar, but branch out and try variations like cran-apple, jicama-apple or kicked up with Sichuan spices. (Image via Food in Jars)
Cortido
Curtido
Curtido is Central America's answer to sauerkraut: Same tangy taste, but punched up with Mexican oregano and the fiery kick of chili peppers. (Image via rcakewalk)

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We Heart Beets

Jewels from the ground, beets delight with their earthy sweetness. Whether you like ruby red, golden, or candy-stripe Chioggia, here's a bunch of ways to put up these gemlike roots.

Pickled Beets, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Beets
Sliced or chunked beets pickled in a sweet brine enhances their natural flavor. Delicious as part of a cheese plate, or with salads. (Image via San Diego Foodstuff)
Beet Pickled Eggs, found on PunkDomestics.com
Beet Pickled Eggs
Don't chuck that brine! Use it to pickle hard-boiled eggs for a colorful, and very delicious, treat. (Image via This American Bite)
Kabees el-Lift, found on PunkDomestics.com
Kabees el-Lift
When fermented with turnip, they become a mustardy, pink pickle known as kabees el-lift, the classic condiment for shawerma. (Image via The Domestic Man)

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Marmalade: Beyond Orange

Citrus is in, and nothing captures the essence of these sunny fruits like marmalade, whether you're making the classic orange or dabbling in other citrus.

How to Cut Citrus for Marmalade
How to Cut Citrus for Marmalade
First things first: How you cut your citrus can make a big difference in the final product when making marmalade. Here's how to make perfectly uniform cuts.
Orange Marmalade
Orange Marmalade
Sevilles are great, but orange marmalade can also be made with blood oranges, cara caras and others. (Image via Local Kitchen)
Lemon Marmalade
Lemon Marmalade
Sweet and fragrant meyer lemons are a great fit here. (If you don't get local meyers, be sure to order some from Lemon Ladies here in the Bay Area.) But all lemons marm up a treat. (Image via Hitchhiking to Heaven)

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New Site Feature: Rewards by SessionM

I'm excited to announce a new feature on Punk Domestics, in partnership with BlogHer. If you look at the top of the right sidebar, you'll see a badge that says Punk Domestics Rewards Powered by mPoints. mPoints is a program designed to thank you, the Punk Domestics community, for doing the things you already are doing.

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Recipes - Techniques - Tools